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Sports Memorabilia Seized From Money Laundering Convict To Go Up For Auction

HACKENSACK, N.J. (CBSNewYork) -- You have a chance to score some rare sports memorabilia – including items from Yankees legends such as Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig and Mickey Mantle.

As CBS 2's Hazel Sanchez reported Thursday night, the items up for auction include a baseball signed by Joe DiMaggio, a bat with the signatures of the 1961 World Series champion Yankees, and a grand slam of other items once owned by a man convicted of money laundering.

"We have to get rid of this stuff," said Bergen County, N.J. Prosecutor John Molinelli. "I mean, it's clogging up my evidence lockers."

Molinelli said his office has been storing the massive connection since 2007, when authorities busted Paterson, N.J. drugstore owner William Stracher.

Prosecutors said Stracher bought sports memorabilia with money he made selling drug samples he obtained from pharmaceutical salesman Luther Manning. Stracher then put the items up for auction.

"The auction company would take their fee, and then would give him a check for the difference, and since he could always claim these were items he'd acquired time to time over the years, no one would question it and it was clean money," Molinelli said.

On Saturday, the county will auction off the collection it seized.
"Ninety Percent is baseball memorabilia; of that, half of it is probably New York Yankee memorabilia," said Ron Caspert of Caspert Auctioneers and Appraisers.

Among the items is a baseball signed by Hall-of-Famer Lou Gehrig, worth more than $12,000. A ticket stub from the 1932 World Series at Wrigley Field in Chicago, between the Yankees and the Cubs, where Babe Ruth called his shot is also up for auction.

Also among the items is a baseball signed by Ted Williams, Mickey Mantle and Hank Aaron -- just to name a few of the players.

And as impressive as the whole collection is, it is only a portion of what authorities seized from Stracher.

Prosecutors said they are only auctioning off 30 percent of what they seized. The rest either could not be authenticated, or was sold in an earlier auction.

Proceeds will go to the Bergen County Prosecutor's Seized Assets Fund.

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